Phoenix: Dodge Motorsports preview

THE DODGE BOYS • Ryan Newman won the 50th running of the Daytona 500. He was fourth at Texas, the last Sprint Cup event, his best finish since the season-opening victory. • Juan Pablo Montoya has completed 99.83 percent of the 2,387 laps run...

THE DODGE BOYS
• Ryan Newman won the 50th running of the Daytona 500. He was fourth at Texas, the last Sprint Cup event, his best finish since the season-opening victory.

• Juan Pablo Montoya has completed 99.83 percent of the 2,387 laps run this season, fifth best in the Sprint Cup Series. Kasey Kahne is sixth at 99.75 percent with Ryan Newman seventh at 99.62 percent.

• Kurt Busch has posted a win in each of the previous six seasons. He has 17 career victories, but is without a trip to victory lane in 2008. Busch has a driver rating of 103.7 (fourth best) at Phoenix. • Juan Pablo Montoya has put together six straight top-20 finishes in the No. 42 Dodge Charger. His best finish of 13th came at Martinsville.

DODGE ROOKIE CONTENDERS
• Dario Franchitti -- The reigning Indianapolis 500 and IndyCar Series champion is currently third in the rookie standings, seven points behind the leader. Franchitti is outside the top 35 in owner points and must qualify for the race at Phoenix on speed.

• Sam Hornish Jr. -- The three-time IndyCar Series champion and 2006 Indy 500 winner is in the top 35 and guaranteed a starting spot at Phoenix in the No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge Charger. Hornish is second in the Raybestos Rookie of the Year standings, one point behind the leader.

• Patrick Carpentier -- The driver of the No. 10 Dodge Charger was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race at Texas, the first time he has taken the honor in 2008. He finished 28th. PIR was the site of his first oval start in the Sprint Cup Series. He started 24th and finished 33rd last fall. He is outside the top 35 and must qualify for the race on speed in his LifeLock-sponsored Dodge.

DODGE AT PHOENIX
• Ryan Newman (No. 12 Alltel Dodge) holds the track qualifying record with a lap time of 26.499 seconds at 135.854 mph. Newman has started from the pole three times at PIR. He has three top fives with a second in November, 2004, his best finish.

• Kurt Busch (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge) has started in the top 10 at the last four events at Phoenix. He won the spring race in 2005 before moving to Penske Racing and the Dodge ranks in 2006. He is second to Mark Martin in laps led at the one-mile track. Busch has led 448 laps. He has a driver rating of 103.7 (fourth best) at PIR and has spent 85.1 percent of the laps racing in the top 15 (fourth best).

• Bobby Labonte has finished in the top 10 in half of his 18 starts at PIR. He has three top-five and nine top-10 finishes along with one pole. Labonte's No. 43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge finished eighth in last year's spring event, best among the 10 Dodges in the field for the 312-lap event.

• Sam Hornish Jr., made his first Sprint Cup start last November at the D-shaped track. Ryan Newman made his first career start in Sprint Cup competition at Phoenix in November, 2000.

DID YOU KNOW?
• The first Polish Victory Lap in NASCAR's premier series came on November 6, 1988 at Phoenix International Raceway. Polish American Alan Kulwicki claimed his first career victory in the inaugural NASCAR event at the one-mile track. He had five career victories, but his only other Polish Victory Lap came at Atlanta Motor Speedway in 1992 as he celebrated his Cup championship.

• Lori Hamilton, wife of the late NASCAR racer and 2004 Truck Series Champion Bobby Hamilton, is urging Americans to get screened for cancer during the 2008 Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week, April 21-27. The week is highlighted by free screenings at more than 150 medical centers. More info and locations at www.headandneck.org (4-2-2008)

Quote of the Week
"Running all the laps at Texas and finishing the race was just what the doctor ordered. I'm getting more seat time and I think my communication with the team is getting better every week. We're all very comfortable around each other. Getting into the top 35 is our main goal and we took a big chunk out of that." - Patrick Carpentier

-credit: dodge motorsports

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Team Penske